Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. — Albert Einstein
I’m not vegetarian. I have been in the past, I even spent a few years following a strictly vegan diet, but I’ve consistently reverted to eating meat after each of those well-intentioned forays into vegetarianism. I’ve come to realise that complete vegetarianism doesn’t work for me because I enjoy eating meat too much (biltong and bredies being my particular weakness). So I’m taking the middle path, cutting down on the amount of meat I eat and making sure that the meat that I do eat is locally reared, organically or non-intensively farmed, and free-range. I am doing this by introducing more vegetarian meals at my family’s mealtimes and cooking/eating meat only once or twice a week.
There are strong environmental arguments for giving up meat, and there are the moral arguments too. I’m not going to cover those here now, but I will suggest some further reading for those who are interested in why eating meat isn’t good for the environment.
How to Have a Greener Diet [EcoStreet.com]
49 Good Reasons for Being a Vegetarian [britishmeat.com]
Meat and the Environment [goveg.com]
Vegetarian is the New Prius[alternet.org]
Lose Weight and Cut Carbon [EcoStreet.com]
And now, on to the real reason for this post. I want to share some of the best vegetarian recipes that I’ve discovered over the years with you, to encourage you to cut down on meat too, for the sake of the welfare of the planet, our fellow man and of course, for the animals. I’m starting off with a potato and leek soup recipe that I’ve been making for years. During our time in England the potatoes, leeks and herbs used in this recipe came from our allotment. Now that we’re in Cape Town and finally have a home to call our own, we’ll be starting a vegetable garden and growing our own again soon. Until then, we’re relying on farmer’s markets and supermarkets for our veggie supplies, and buying organic where available.
Potato & Leek Soup (serves 6-8)
1/2 tsp oil/butter/ghee
8 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 large leeks, sliced
2 Tbsp vegetable stock (in SA I recommend: Ina Paarman’s or Health Connection Wholefoods; in UK: Marigold buillon)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt (Himalayan rock salt or Maldon sea salt)
1 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil/butter/ghee. Sauté the potatoes and leeks for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover with 1-litre of water and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Then let it stand for a further 20 minutes.
3. (Optional: helpful to get kids eating soup) Purée soup in a blender.
4. Reheat if necessary.
More delicious vegetarian food next week. Stay tuned.
Photo credit: bookchen